CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A parent is pushing for better sidewalks and crosswalks after she saw a student almost get hit by a car at the intersection of Hwy 521 and River Road while taking her child to Indian Middle School.
"My son said, 'Oh my goodness, mom, that kid almost got hit,' and when I looked up they were walking across and they almost did get hit. I said something has to be done," Pam Houge said.
Houge quickly called the Lancaster County School District Safety Director to tell him crosswalks and sidewalks are needed for students who walk to Indian Land Middle and High Schools. Houge says she sees students walking to school who are sometimes forced to walk in the roads.
"It sure is important for our kids to feel safe and be able to walk to school safe," Houge said.
Houge started a petition and was told if she got 12 parent signatures it would be enough to get the attention of officials. She got more than 300 signatures. She hopes that will make a difference. She believes seeing kids compete with traffic is an accident waiting to happen and that sidewalks will make the difference.
"So cars don't get on the grass and hit them and they have to move over and get in a ditch or anything like that," Houge said.
Joel Carmerire walks on the side of the road to get to businesses across the street from his high school.
"It's a little close to the street," he said. "I get a little nervous walking down the street."
He says sometimes cars forget they have to share the road with pedestrians.
"Every once in awhile you see someone come around and turn too hard when you are trying to walk across the street because they really don't follow the rules," Carmerire said.
South Carolina Department of Transportation officials say they will first have to conduct a traffic study to determine if crosswalks and sidewalks are warranted. School officials say they will contact the state about the matter and try to identify grants that can possibly be used to get sidewalks and crosswalks.
There is a special light for pedestrians to use at the busy intersection of Hwy 521 and River Road, but Houge thinks that is not enough.
"You know these cars are just busy. They are just trying to get to work. They are just trying to get their kid to school. They're running so they're just not paying attention," she said. "When you have the lines, it's kind of like 'Oh, I do need to slow down.'"
In addition to contacting school leaders, Houge also contacted state and county officials about her concern. She hopes somebody can do something before a student gets hurt.